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Natalie Portman Biography – An American actress became a new Thor

Natalie Portman is an Israeli-born American actress. She has had an extensive career in film since her teenage years and starred in various blockbusters and independent films, receiving multiple accolades such as an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

Quick Info→
Real Name: Natalie Hershlag
Profession: Israeli-born American actress
Birthplace: Jerusalem
Husband: Benjamin Millepied
Age: 41

Natalie Portman (born Natalie Hershlag, June 9, 1981) is an Israeli-born American actress. She has had an extensive career in film since her teenage years and starred in various blockbusters and independent films, receiving multiple accolades such as an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

Portman began her acting career at age twelve, when she starred as the young protégée of a hitman in the action drama film Léon: The Professional (1994). While in high school, she made her Broadway debut in a 1998 production of The Diary of a Young Girl and gained international recognition for starring as Padmé Amidala in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999). From 1999 to 2003, Portman attended Harvard University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, while continuing to act in the Star Wars prequel trilogy (2002, 2005) and in The Public Theater’s 2001 revival of Anton Chekhov’s play The Seagull. In 2004, Portman was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and won a Golden Globe Award for playing a mysterious stripper in the romantic drama Closer.

Natalie Portman Biography
Natalie Portman Biography

Portman’s career progressed with her starring roles as Evey Hammond in V for Vendetta (2005), Anne Boleyn in The Other Boleyn Girl (2008), and a troubled ballerina in the psychological horror film Black Swan (2010), for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. She starred in the romantic comedy No Strings Attached (2011) and portrayed Jacqueline Kennedy in the biopic Jackie (2016), earning her a third Academy Award nomination. Portman has also featured as Jane Foster in the Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero films Thor (2011), Thor: The Dark World (2013), and Thor: Love and Thunder (2022), which established her among the world’s highest-paid actresses.

Portman’s directorial ventures include the short film Eve (2008) and the biographical drama A Tale of Love and Darkness (2015). She is vocal about the politics of the United States and Israel and is an advocate for animal rights and environmental causes. She is married to dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied, with whom she has two children.

Natalie Portman Biography
Born
Natalie Hershlag

June 9, 1981 (age 41)

Jerusalem
Citizenship
  • Israel
  • United States
Alma mater Harvard University (AB)
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Occupation
  • Actress
  • director
  • producer
Years active 1993–present
Works
Full list
Spouse(s)
Benjamin Millepied (m. 2012)
Children 2
Awards Full list
Signature
Cursive signature in ink

Early life and education (Natalie Portman Biography)

Natalie Herschlag was born on June 9, 1981, in Jerusalem, to Jewish parents with roots in Poland, Austria, and Russia. She is the only child of Shelley (née Stevens), an American homemaker who works as Portman’s agent, and Avner Hershlag, an Israeli-born gynecologist. Her maternal grandparents were American Jews, whereas her paternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants to Israel.

Portman and her family first lived in Washington, D.C., but relocated to Connecticut in 1988 and then moved to Long Island in 1990. While living in Washington Portman attended Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, Maryland. Her native language is Hebrew. While living on Long Island, she attended a Jewish elementary school, the Solomon Schechter Day School of Nassau County. She studied ballet and modern dance at the American Theater Dance Workshop and regularly attended the Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts. Describing her early life, Portman has said that she was “different from the other kids. I was more ambitious. I knew what I liked and what I wanted, and I worked very hard. I was a very serious kid.”

Natalie Portman Biography
Natalie Portman Biography

Career (Natalie Portman Biography)

1994–1998: Early work and acting background

Six months after Ruthless! ended, Portman auditioned for and secured a leading role in Luc Besson’s action drama Léon: The Professional (1994). To protect her privacy, she adopted her paternal grandmother’s maiden name, Portman, as her stage name. She played Mathilda, an orphan child who befriends a middle-aged hitman (played by Jean Reno). Her parents were reluctant to let her do the part due to the explicit sexual and violent nature of the script but agreed after Besson took out the nudity and the killings committed by Portman’s character. Portman herself said that after those scenes were removed, she found nothing objectionable about the content. Even so, her mother was displeased with some of the “sexual twists and turns” in the finished film, which was not part of the script. Hal Hinson of The Washington Post commended Portman for bringing a “genuine sense of tragedy” to her part, but Peter Rainer of the Los Angeles Times believed that she “isn’t enough of an actress to unfold Mathilda’s pain” and criticized Besson’s sexualization of her character.

1999–2006: Star Wars, education, and transition to adult roles

Portman began filming the part of Padmé Amidala in the Star Wars prequel trilogy in 1997, which marked her first big-budget production. The first film of the series, Episode I – The Phantom Menace was released in 1999 when she was in her senior year of high school. Portman was unfamiliar with the franchise when she was cast, and watched the original Star Wars trilogy before filming began. She worked closely with the director George Lucas on her character’s accent and mannerisms and watched the films of Lauren Bacall, Audrey Hepburn, and Katharine Hepburn to draw inspiration from their voice and stature. Filming in arduous locations in Algeria proved challenging for Portman, who struggled with the process of making a film involving special effects. She did not attend the film’s premiere so she could study for her high school finals. Critics disliked the film but with earnings of $924 million worldwide it was the second highest-grossing film of all time to that point, and it established Portman as a global star.

2007–2015: Career expansion and Black Swan

Portman began 2007 by replacing Jodie Foster in Wong Kar-wai’s romantic drama My Blueberry Nights, which was his first English-language film. For her role as a gambler, she trained with a poker coach. Richard Corliss of Time magazine believed that “for once she’s not playing a waif or a child princess but a mature, full-bodied woman” and commended her “vibrancy, grittiness and ache, all performed with a virtuosa’s easy assurance”. Her next appearance was in Hotel Chevalier, a short film from Wes Anderson, which served as a prologue to his feature The Darjeeling Limited (in which Portman had a cameo). In the short, she and Jason Schwartzman play former lovers who reunite in a Paris hotel room. For the first time, Portman performed an extended nude scene; she was later disappointed at the undue focus on it and she subsequently swore off appearing nude again. Keen to work in different genres, Portman accepted a role in the children’s film Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, playing an employee of a magical toy store. She also appeared in Paul McCartney’s music video “Dance Tonight” from his album Memory Almost Full, directed by Michel Gondry.

2016–present: Jackie and beyond

Portman portrayed Jacqueline Kennedy in the Pablo Larraín-directed biopic Jackie (2016), about Kennedy’s life immediately after the 1963 assassination of her husband. She was initially intimidated to take on the part of a well-known public figure, and eventually researched Kennedy extensively by watching videos of her, reading books, and listening to audiotapes of her interviews. She also worked with a dialect coach to adopt Kennedy’s unique speaking style. David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter termed it an “incandescent performance” and added that “her Jackie is both inscrutable and naked, broken but unquestionably resilient, a mess and yet fiercely dignified”. She won the Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Actress and received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress. She also served as producer for the comedy horror film Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, directed by Burr Steers, and starred in Rebecca Zlotowski’s French-Belgian drama Planetarium. The 2017 experimental romance Song to Song marked Portman’s second collaboration with Terrence Malick, which like their previous film polarized critics.

Natalie Portman as Thor
Natalie Portman as Thor

Activism (Natalie Portman Biography)

Portman, who is an advocate for animal rights, became a vegetarian at age eight, a decision which came after she witnessed a demonstration of laser surgery on a chicken while attending a medical conference with her father. She became a vegan in 2009 after reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals and later produced a documentary on factory farming systems in the U.S. by the same title. In September 2017, she was recognized for her work on the film by the Environmental Media Association Awards with the Ongoing Commitment Award. She does not wear animal products and praised the animal-friendly products that Stella McCartney and Target designed. In 2007, she launched her own brand of animal-friendly footwear with no fur, leather, or feathers. In 2007, Portman traveled to Rwanda with Jack Hanna, to film the documentary, Gorillas on the Brink. Later, at a naming ceremony, Portman named a baby gorilla Gukina, which means “to play”. Portman has been an advocate of environmental causes since childhood when she joined an environmental song and dance troupe known as World Patrol Kids.

In 2020, Portman endorsed the “defund the police” movement. In 2020, Portman collaborated with JusticeLA to create a public service announcement #SuingToSaveLives about the health of people in L.A. County jails amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Later in 2020, Portman was announced as one of the investors in an almost all-female group that was awarded a new franchise in the National Women’s Soccer League, the top level of the women’s sport in the U.S. Since unveiled as Angel City FC, the new team is set to start to play in 2022.

Personal life and endorsements (Natalie Portman Biography)

Portman is married to French dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied, with whom she has two children. The couple began dating in 2009 after having met while working together on the set of Black Swan and wed in a Jewish ceremony held in Big Sur, California, on August 4, 2012. The family lived in Paris for a time after Millepied accepted the position of director of dance with the Paris Opera Ballet, and Portman expressed a desire to become a French citizen. As of 2013, they reside in Los Angeles.

In 2006, Portman commented that she felt more Jewish in Israel and that she would like to raise her children Jewish: “A priority for me is definitely that I’d like to raise my kids Jewish, but the ultimate thing is to have someone who is a good person and who is a partner.” In January 2014, Millepied said he was in the process of converting to Judaism.

In 2010, Portman signed on with Dior and appeared in several of the company’s advertising campaigns. In October 2012, Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority banned a Dior advertisement that featured Portman wearing Dior mascara after a complaint from Dior’s competitor, L’Oreal. The ASA ruled that the photographs of Portman “misleadingly exaggerated the likely effects of the product”. Portman is the face of one of the company’s fragrances, Miss Dior, inspired by Catherine Dior. She has starred in campaign videos for the fragrance and promoted a new version of the fragrance, Rose N’Roses, in 2021.

Natalie Portman with her Husband
Natalie Portman with her Husband

Filmography and awards (Natalie Portman Biography)

Portman’s most acclaimed and highest-grossing films, according to the online portal Box Office Mojo and the review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, include Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999), Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002), Closer (2004), Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005), V for Vendetta (2005), Black Swan (2010), No Strings Attached (2011), Thor (2011), Thor: The Dark World (2013), Jackie (2016), and Annihilation (2018).

Portman was awarded the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Drama and the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Black Swan, and the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress for Closer. She has received two more Academy Award nominations: Best Supporting Actress for Closer and Best Actress for Jackie; and two more Golden Globe nominations: Best Supporting Actress for Anywhere but Here (1999) and Best Actress in a Drama for Jackie.

Film

Year Title Role(s) Notes
1994 Léon: The Professional Mathilda Lando
1995 Developing Nina Short film
Heat Lauren Gustafson
1996 Beautiful Girls Marty
Everyone Says I Love You Laura Dandridge
Mars Attacks! Taffy Dale
1999 Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace Padmé Amidala
Anywhere but Here Ann August
2000 Where the Heart Is Novalee Nation
2001 Zoolander Herself Cameo
2002 Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones Padmé Amidala
2003 Cold Mountain Sara
2004 Garden State Samantha
Closer Alice Ayres / Jane Jones
2005 Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith Padmé Amidala
Free Zone Rebecca
V for Vendetta Evey Hammond
2006 Paris, je t’aime Francine Segment: “Faubourg Saint-Denis”
Goya’s Ghosts Inés Bilbatúa / Alicia
2007 My Blueberry Nights Leslie
Hotel Chevalier Rhett Short film
The Darjeeling Limited Rhett
Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium Molly Mahoney
2008 The Other Boleyn Girl Anne Boleyn
New York, I Love You Rifka Malone Appears in the segment directed by Mira Nair
Also director and writer for one segment
2009 The Other Woman Emilia Greenleaf Also executive producer
Brothers Grace Cahill
2010 Hesher Nicole Also producer
Black Swan Sayers / White Swan / Odette
I’m Still Here Herself Cameo
2011 No Strings Attached Emma Kurtzman Also executive producer
Your Highness Isabel
Thor Jane Foster
2013 Thor: The Dark World Jane Foster
Illusions & Mirrors Young Woman Short film
2015 The Seventh Fire Executive producer; documentary
Knight of Cups Elizabeth
The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards Laura Segment: “Lacunae”
A Tale of Love and Darkness Fania Klausner Also director and writer
Jane Got a Gun Jane Hammond Also producer
2016 Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Producer
Jackie Jacqueline Kennedy
Planetarium Laura Barlow
2017 Song to Song Rhonda
2018 Annihilation Lena
Vox Lux Celeste Montgomery Also executive producer
The Death & Life of John F. Donovan Sam Turner
Dolphin Reef Narrator (voice) Documentary
2019 Avengers: Endgame Jane Foster Archive footage from Thor: The Dark World and new voice-over
Lucy in the Sky Lucy Cola
2022Films that have not yet been released Thor: Love and Thunder Jane Foster/ Mighty Thor Post-production
Key
Films that have not yet been released Denotes films that have not yet been released

Television

Year Title Role Notes
2003–2004 Sesame Street Herself 2 episodes
2004 Hitler’s Pawn: The Margaret Lambert Story Narrator Documentary
2006 Saturday Night Live Host Episode: “Natalie Portman / Fall Out Boy”
The Armenian Genocide Narrator Documentary
2007, 2012 The Simpsons Darcy (voice) Episodes: “Little Big Girl”, “Moonshine River”
2007 Saving a Species Host “Gorillas on the Brink”
2017 Angie Tribeca Christina Craft Episode: “This Sounds Unbelievable, But CSI: Miami Did It”
2018 Saturday Night Live Host Episode: “Natalie Portman / Dua Lipa”
2021 What If…? Jane Foster (voice) Episode: “What If… Thor Were an Only Child?”
2021 Bluey Whale Documentary Narrator (voice) Episode: “Whale Watching”
TBAFilms that have not yet been released Lady in the Lake Maddie Schwartz Filming

Music videos

Year Title Artist(s) Role
2006 “Natalie’s Rap” The Lonely Island Herself
2007 “Dance Tonight” Paul McCartney Ghost
2008 “Carmensita” Devendra Banhart Princess Carmensita Saplingita
2012 “My Valentine”
2017 “My Willing Heart” James Blake
2018 “Natalie’s Rap 2.0” The Lonely Island Herself
2020 “Imagine” Gal Gadot & Friends Herself

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